Distracted driving is now just as dangerous as intoxicated driving to innocent drivers, pedestrians, and passengers. But even in states where distracted driving laws have been made into official rules, drivers continue to drive while distracted.
According to a recent survey carried out by the site Kelly Blue Book, at least 97 percent of the drivers who participated believe that distracted driving is their major concern while on US roads.
This comes as a surprise to some, especially since intoxicated drivers come in second as their biggest concern with only 75 percent of the votes. Road rage got the third place with 50 percent.
According to experts who ran the study, the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel is an increasing source of distraction for drivers on the road. And that is turning into a problem that most drivers recognize.
Among participants of the survey, 91 percent were aware of what local laws say about the use of a phone to text while behind the wheel. Nevertheless, 81 percent of the respondents also said they blame drivers who are between the ages of 19 and 34 for being more distracted than others. About 66 percent of respondents, however, say that those who are between 19 and 25 are the ones who text more often while behind the wheel. Respondents who claimed that drivers between the ages of 26 and 34 or drivers between the ages of 15 to 18 were more distracted than others accounted for only 15 percent of the total.
When asked whether they believe that distraction linked to texting while behind the wheel affects their ability to drive, 41 percent said yes. At least 62 percent of participants admitted to texting while the vehicle is not moving while only 2 percent claimed they use their phone to text while the vehicle is in motion. But only 36 percent of drivers admitted to texting while the vehicle is both at a standstill or in motion.
Almost half of participants say they often send text messages while driving because waiting is not an option. To drivers and safety advocates who are concerned about these trends, it’s important to keep in mind that many of the solutions developed by tech companies or automakers are not exactly less distracting than handheld phone use.
Recently, AAA reported on a study that suggests that hands-free technology used by many drivers are actually just as or even more distracting than using handheld technologies.
To many safety advocates, drivers will only be less likely to use their phones while behind the wheel if they know how deadly the consequences are. To them, toughening restrictions or existing laws won’t make a huge difference.